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The Neckline Slimmer - Resistance Training for your Neck?

Monday, September 21, 2009 Posted by Travis Saunders


Did you know that you can firm, smooth, and lift your entire neckline in just two minutes a day?  Neither did I, until I came across the Neckline Slimmer, a resistance training device for your neck.  The device was invented by Paul Younane, an Australian physiotherapist and former professional rugby player.  According to the official Neckline Slimmer blog,

The Neckline Slimmer targets and tones the underlying muscles of your neck, chin and cheek area by applying gentle resistance. Just like every other muscle in your body – whether it be your abs, butt or thighs – your facial muscles need exercise. We all know the benefits of resistance exercises like crunches and curls. Think of the Neckline Slimmer in exactly the same way, only easier.

 For a video of the Neckline Slimmer in action, click on the video below (email subscribers can see the video on our main page by clicking here).



As you might expect, there are quite a few problems with the rationale behind this device.  First of all, the primary cause of a double-chin is not loose muscles, it is an accumulation of fat.  And as Dr Jen Kuk told us in her recent interview regarding regional fat loss,

"...there is no way to target a specific fat depot..."

In other words, whether you want to lose fat from your belly, from your butt, or from your neck, the best course of action is to increase your caloric expenditure and reduce your caloric intake.  E.g. exercise more and eat less.  Doing thousands of crunches will not specifically burn the fat off your stomach, nor will doing neck exercises magically burn all the fat off your neck.   That's just not how the body works.  Not surprisingly, looking at the pictures on the Neckline Slimmer before and after page, it appears that several of the women may have lost a significant amount of weight, which could explain much of the reduction in neck size. 

But for me, the strangest thing about the Neckline Slimmer are its claims about skeletal muscle.  Let's look at the following passages from the official Neckline Slimmer blog (emphasis mine):

The Neckline Slimmer simply applies the principles of resistance training to the neck, chin and cheeks. As the underlying muscles firm and lift so does the skin. This is because the muscles of the neck and face are inextricably linked to the skin by connective tissue called facia [sic]...  Resistance training is the key to toning and shaping every muscle in your body. When muscles are toned they lift and hold their shape. This is because resistance training challenges your muscles so that more fibers in each muscle become active. It’’s [sic] like turning the volume control up on your muscles. Instead of volume, however, the muscle tone is what you increase. Then, even at rest, your muscle tone remains raised so you always keep your shape.

This seems to suggest that when muscles are out of shape they become incredibly saggy, and when they are exercised they become tight and toned.  Think of how saggy your neck and facial muscles would have to become to result in a double chin! When you actually think about it, that doesn't make much sense.  I am a distance runner, and I never train any muscles in my upper body.  My triceps are very weak, yet when I hold my arms out my triceps muscles do not dangle off the back of my arm.  Why not?  Because muscles do not dramatically lengthen as they lose fitness, nor do they shorten and become drastically "tighter" as a result of training (although they may tighten a bit, I can't imagine it would be enough to lift itself).  So when you train a muscle, it does not noticeably "lift and hold its shape" any more than it did before training. And if your neck muscles did tighten that dramatically as a result of training, they would exert a tremendous amount of force on your neck, pulling your chin down towards your chest and resulting in quite an uncomfortable situation.  Luckily for all of us, that is not the way that muscles work. 

Let's recap.  A double-chin is most likely to be caused by an accumulation of fat, not saggy muscles.  Since it is impossible to target one specific fat depot, the best way to reduce the size of any fat depot (including the neck) is to reduce caloric intake and increase caloric expenditure. 

I should mention that the Neckline Slimmer also comes with "accelerator cream", although how this cream accelerates the muscle "lifting and toning" is unclear.  If you are interested in purchasing a Neckline Slimmer for yourself, please visit their website here.  Hat tip to friend and reader Danielle Gabert for emailing us about the Neckline Slimmer.

Travis

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2 Response to "The Neckline Slimmer - Resistance Training for your Neck?"

  1. Lauri Said,

    If it weren't so obvious in the pictures that the models were lowering their slightly turned chins for the 'before' profiles and raising and jutting out their chins for the 'after'...I can create for myself a double chin or stand up straight, use cosemetics and look 10 years younger and 10 lbs thinner from the neck up, too.

    Posted on September 22, 2009 at 10:38 AM

     
  2. Anonymous Said,

    There are really two separate causes for "double chin"... (1) excess fat; and (2) loose muscles. The two go hand-in-hand in many people, but not all people. You can see excess fat in younger or older people, resulting in a more classic double chin, but you only really see loose muscles in older people. Sometimes, especially when muslces are loosened over a long period due to stretching caused by underlying fat, the muscles will loosen, and then if the fat is lost, the skin becomes very loose and even "floppy". But the point is that all of these conditions don't necessarily come together.

    I agree that the neckline slimmer doesn't really attack excess fat, just as doing sit-ups doesn't target excess fat in the abdominal area. In other words, you can't burn fat in a "targeted" fashion like that by pinpointing certain muscles to exercise.

    However, doing sit-ups DOES tighten abdominal muscles.

    The abdominal muscles are very much related to the platysma and other mucles in the anterior neck adn chin, because they are both "ventral" or "anterior" muscles of the body, and the most superficial layer of these muscles is in the form of a very thin network which intermeshes with the fascial tissues under the skin. They are like a "net" or "mesh" that holds the skin and tissues in place -- keeping them close to the body. (The same "stretching" phenomenon caused by excess fat in the anterior neck can also happen in the abdominal area, causing a "pot belly" or "gut".)

    When these muscles are loosened over a long period of time, then become permanently slack, and they stop doing their job -- they no longer maintain the youthful shape of the anterior body wall on the outside.

    Flexing any set of muscles against resistance has two effects on those muscles -- over a long period of time and many daily repetitions, it causes the muscles to become shorter, as if they get used to being tensed and no longer want to be slack. This will have a tightening effect on the muscles and it's this phenomenon that the Neckline Slimmer takes advantage of.

    Posted on February 25, 2010 at 9:51 PM

     

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We are PhD students in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Our research focuses on the relationships between obesity, physical activity, and health risk. This blog is our attempt to consider the many "cures" for obesity that we read about on a daily basis. Enjoy.

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The opinions expressed here belong only to Peter and Travis and do not reflect the views of any organization. Any medical discussion on this page is intended to be of a general nature only. This page is not designed to give specific medical advice. If you have a medical problem you should consult your own physician for advice specific to your own situation.

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